Sudan: UN and partners scale up response for Abyei displaced

28 May, 2011
A girl at a returnee camp near Gok Machar, Northern Bar El Ghazal, Southern Sudan. Credit: IRIN/Siegfried Modola
A girl at a returnee camp near Gok Machar, Northern Bar El Ghazal, Southern Sudan. Credit: IRIN/Siegfried Modola

Since the violence erupted in Abyei almost a week ago, tens of thousands of people have fled their homes. As of 26 May, it was estimated that more than 30,000 people have made their way south and reports of new arrivals continue. Humanitarian partners are scaling up to provide displaced people with the necessary assistance.

Yesterday, IOM confirmed approximately 6,500 displaced people in Warrap, Unity and Northern Bahr el Ghazal. Also yesterday, an additional four trucks carrying displaced people arrived in Turalei while some 1,000 people arrived in Wunrok. Today, more than 1,000 people are reported to have arrived in Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazal - mainly women and children, including 10 unaccompanied minors.

WFP is assisting over 6,000 people with a total of 98 metric tons of assorted food commodities in Mayen Abun, Turalei and Wunrok. All displaced people who have been identified are receiving a one month ration, including cereals, oil and salt. The verification and food distribution will continue simultaneously as the displaced people continue to be registered in inter-agency assessments. WFP has expressed concern that it is the height of the planting season right now and as people are unable to plant, they will require food and other types of humanitarian assistance for an extended period of time.

While humanitarian organisations are scaling up their response to provide life-saving assistance to people, the UN Country Team have reported that the premises of humanitarian organisations in Abyei town, both NGOs and UN aid agencies, have been ransacked and stocks of emergency relief items have been looted. Items taken include medical supplies, surgical equipment, 800 metric tons of food (enough to feed 50,000 people for three months), non-food items, and water and hygiene equipment. These supplies had been dispatched to Abyei town in recent weeks to respond to the needs of the town residents and the rural population of surrounding villages.

Due to insecurity, humanitarian assessments in Abyei town and north of the Bahr el Arab/Kiir River have not yet been possible and the humanitarian presence in the area has been reduced. An OCHA team visited Agok from Turalei today to assess the humanitarian situation and another assessment mission is scheduled to travel by air from Abyei to Agok tomorrow. A high-level mission comprising Government of Southern Sudan officials, the diplomatic corps and representatives of the humanitarian community is planning to visit Turalei tomorrow. They will meet with local authorities to get a first-hand view of the situation on the ground and gain a better understanding of response efforts underway.

More>> OCHA Situation Report #6 - Statement by the UN Country Team